Moriah of the plague. The chorus of Theban
Moriah ChangAngie LiuMichelle TanHadassah SommerTiffany ThaiPeriod 2Part Two (Parados and Scene One) for Oedipus Rex pp. 3-81. What is the mood of the chorus upon its entrance? What appeals do they make?The mood of the chorus upon its entrance consists of a fear of the plague. The chorus of Theban senators is also suppliant toward any god who might be able to relieve the city’s plight. Overall, the chorus seems desperate for help since “the unnumbered death of its people the city dies; those children that are born lie dead on the naked earth unpitied, spreading contagion of death” (203-208). They appeal to various gods like Athena, Artemis, Apollo, Dionysus, and Zeus to “smite the War God, Father Zeus, beneath your thunderbolt, for you are the Lord of the lightning, the lightning that carries fire” (218-221). By complementing the gods and informing them of their troubles, the chorus hopes that their prayers will be answered.2. In what ways does Oedipus criticize his subjects? What does this reveal about his character?Oedipus criticizes his subjects by by scolding the chorus for failing to find Laius’ killer a long time ago. Upon talking to his subjects, Oedipus says, “But if you shall keep silence, if perhaps some one of you, to shield a guilty friend, some one of you to reject my words” (251-253). This quote shows how Oedipus is castigating the citizens of Thebes for letting the murdered for unknown for so long as they remain in silence.3. What initial signs of rashness do we see in Oedipus?We see initial signs of rashness in Oedipus as he makes certain decisions concerning the murderer of Laius. For instance, he invokes the curse on Laius’ murderer or anyone who is helping the criminal by saying “Upon the murderer I invoke this curse, whether he is one man and all unknown, … may he wear out his life in misery to miserable doom!” (266-269). Furthermore, when Oedipus speaks to Tiresias, he taunts the blind prophet when Tiresias tells hims information he chooses not to believe, and that Oedipus is actually the murderer of Laius. Instead, Oedipus makes Tiresias repeat his statement twice, and continues to mock him and even his blindness.4. Why is Teiresias reluctant to tell what he knows to Oedipus? What seems to be Tiresias’ philosophical attitude?Teiresias is reluctant to tell what he knows about Oedipus because he says “This I knew well, but had forgotten it, else I would have not come here” (348-349). This quote demonstrates how Teiresias knows the truth, but wishes he did not. Because of this, Teiresias is shown to be reluctant in telling Oedipus what he knows. Furthermore, Tiresias’ philosophical attitude seems to be pessimistic and fatalistic. Teiresias is shown to be a firm believer in destiny and in the god’s determining the fate of all things. Fatalistic- fate cannot be changed; future is fixedPessimistic; believes that nothing can turn out well5. What ironies arise in this scene?An irony that arises in this scene is when Oedipus speaks of his relation with the previous king Laius. Oedipus claims that he will find the killer of Laius as if he were searching for the killer of his own father. Another irony in this scene is demonstrated in the exchanges between Oedipus and the blind prophet Tiresias. Oedipus mocks Tiresias for his physical lack of vision, when Oedipus himself is blinded by his future even in his physical ability to see.6. What false conclusion does Oedipus reach as a result of this quarrel with Tiresias? What effect will this conclusion have on Oedipus?As a result of his quarrel with Tiresias, Oedipus makes the false conclusion that Teiresias is working with Creon against him to overthrow his throne and his power. Oedipus accuses Tiresias, thinking that Tiresias was “complotter of the deed and doer of the deed save in so far as for the actual killing” (393-395). This shows Oedipus’ tendency to make hasty or rash conclusions. This characteristic will affect Oedipus’ journeying in discovering his future which will therefore increase his suffering later on when he finds out the real truth about himself. Also believes that Tiresias was bribed by Creon and that Creon wants Oedipus’ place on the throne. Part Four (Choral Ode II and Scene 3) for Oedipus Rex pp. 13 -181. What is the subject and tone of the second choral ode? The subject of the second choral ode comprises of the chorus’ warning against pride or hubrice and blasphemy. And the tone of the second choral ode consists of fear and anxiety. The chorus begins by saying “May destiny ever find me pious in word and deed prescribed by the laws that live on high” (993-995). This quote shows how the chorus is announcing that the world is ruled by destiny. The chorus also denounces prideful men who would try to defy the gods.2. What is the dramatic effect of Jocasta’s prayer at the beginning of this scene? Jocasta’s prayer at the beginning of this scene has a dramatic effect because her prayer stands as a contrast to her previous misbeliefs on oracles and their prophecies. Overall, this shows that she still honors and respects the gods and their power. For example, when the messenger delivers the new of Polybus’ death, Jocasta proclaims, “Be quick and run to the King with the news! O oracles of the Gods, where are you now?” (1064-1066). In this quote, Jocasta is rejoicing at the news that the messenger is bringing her as she believes that her prayers have also been answered. 3. What comment does Jocasta make to the chorus and the messenger about fate? Jocasta makes the comment to the chorus and the messenger that everyone is ruled by fate and that no one can see into the future. As Jocasta is offering branches wrapped in wool to Apollo, she says “I can do no good by my advice, and so I came as suppliant to you, Lycaen Apollo, who are nearest” (1041-1042). This shows that humans need only to enjoy life and live in the present age. 4. What does the name “Oedipus” mean? Why is this important?The name “Oedipus” means swollen foot. This is important because his name’s literal meaning is the clue to Oedipus’ true identity as he was taken from the house of Laius as a baby and left in the mountains with his feet bound together. Oedipus was given this name because his feet were bound together when he was abandoned on Mount Cithaeron. 5. Why does Jocasta attempt to keep Oedipus from questioning the shepherd? How does Oedipus misconstrue her pleas to stop his investigations?Jocasta attempts to keep Oedipus from questioning the shepherd because she realizes the horrible truth that Oedipus is her son, and that the shepherd will be able to confirm this. Upon having this shocking revelation, Jocasta tries to prevent Oedipus from further questioning the shepherd by saying “I beg you, do not hunt this out, I beg you” (1207). However, Oedipus misconstrues her pleas to stop his investigation as he believes that she will find out he is of low birth and will therefore be ashamed of him. The fact that Jocasta is worried over his personal status angers Oedipus. 6. What is implied about self-knowledge and its price in Oedipus Rex at this point in the play?At this point in the play, Sophocles seems to be implying that the journey to self-knowledge is difficult, and that what is discovered may not be what one necessarily wants to find or discover. Instead, it can be dangerous and ruin one’s own life. Part Five (Ode III, Scene 4, Ode IV, Eodos) for Oedipus Rex pp. 18-231. What is the subject of the third choral ode? The subject of the third choral ode comprises of the chorus inquiring about Oedipus’ birth and how he came to be. The chorus wonders if he was born from nymphs and gods. They are in awe of Oedipus, and wonder whether he was really born of human parents, or if he is god-like.2. Why is the shepherd reluctant to speak? What facts does the shepherd bring to light?The shepherd is reluctant to speak because he is terrified of Oedipus’ reaction in knowing the real truth, for once he reveals the truth about giving the child to the messenger, Oedipus will know his true identity. The shepherd brings to light the facts that Oedipus is indeed Laius and Jocasta’s child. 3. What admirable trait is revealed about Oedipus’ character in the scene where he discovers the full truth about himself?In the scene where Oedipus discovers the fills truth about himself, an admirable trait that is revealed in Oedipus’ character would be his courage. Upon discovering out his true identity, Oedipus exclaims, “O, O, O they will all come, all come out clearly!” (1364-1365). This quote shows Oedipus’ determination in finding out the truth of his identity even though he knows it might not be the good news he would like to hear. 4. How does the chorus react in the fourth ode to Oedipus’ turn of fortune? How does the chorus expand on the theme of illusion and reality?In the fourth ode, the chorus is profoundly shocked by Oedipus’ turn of fortune. The chorus experiences his doom as if it were their own, similar to Oedipus’ empathy with the city’s suffering at the beginning of the play. Furthermore, the chorus expands on the theme of illusion and reality by saying “Hence he was called my king and hence was honored the highest of all honors; and hence he rules in the great city of Thebes. But now whose tale is more miserable?” (1385-1389). This quote shows how the chorus, like Oedipus himself, has been blinded by the truth. And that Oedipus’ happiness and that of Thebes also, has merely been an illusion this whole time. 5. Compare Jocasta’s final actions in the play to those of Oedipus.At the end of the play, Jocasta commits suicide by hanging herself, and Oedipus “Tore the brooches, the hold chases brooches fastening her robe away from and lifting them up high dashed them on his own eyeballs” (1455-1458). Jocasta’s final actions are similar to that of Oedipus’ because they both self inflict themselves and feel remorse or responsible for their actions. Jocasta decides to end her life immediately upon finding out the truth, whereas Oedipus decides to live on with his suffering. Upon knowing the truth, Oedipus even comes out publicly to make a spectacle of himself.6. What is Oedipus’ reaction to his downfall? What does this say about his character and his courage? Oedipus’ reaction to his downfall is of devastation, as he gauges out his eyes and demands for himself to be exiled. This shows us Oedipus’ heroism in discovering his own mystery. Overall Oedipus is horrified to discover his true identity, but he still chooses to take responsibility for it. Oedipus demonstrates a greater sense of heroism in taking his punishment into his own hands and even insists on making his doom in life his own responsibility. 7. What does Oedipus ask of Creon? What does Creon decide? What does this decision show about the character of Creon?Oedipus asks or begs Creon for exile, and is determined that his own curse may be carried out in all its awful integrity. After learning the truth, he says to Creon “Drive me from here with all the speed you can to where I may not hear a human voice” (1216-1217). However, Creon decides wait and hear what the priests and oracles have to say concerning his request. This decision of Creon’s character stands in contrast to the extraordinarily decisive Oedipus in his unwillingness to take destiny out of the hands of the gods and into his own. Therefore, Creon is shown to be a strong believer in fate and in the god’s determining the future of all things. 8. What does Oedipus sense about his destiny? Is Oedipus responsible for his destiny? What does this play ultimately show about fate? Oedipus senses that his destiny is incomplete or is far from complete as much as he may wish for death. Oedipus is not responsible for his destiny as there was nothing he could have done in order to alter or change his fate. Overall, this play ultimately shows that one’s fate cannot be changed or avoided.